archipelago off S S. America S of Strait of Magellan; in Argentina & Chile area over 28,400 square miles (73,556 square kilometers)
chief island of the archipelago; divided between Chile and Argentina area 18,530 square miles (48,178 square kilometers)
Tierra del Fuego
Archipelago at the southern extremity of South America. It is separated from the Antarctic Archipelago by the Drake Passage. The southern and western parts are an extension of the Andes Mountains, with peaks exceeding 7,000 ft (2,100 m). About two-thirds of the islands are in Chile, and the remainder are in Argentina. The main island, Tierra del Fuego, is divided roughly equally between Chile (west) and Argentina (east); the city of Ushuaia, Arg., there is the southernmost city in the world. Indigenous peoples were the sole occupants until 1880, when colonization by Chilean and Argentine nationals was prompted by the discovery of gold. Chile's only oil field is there. The region's name (Spanish: Land of Fire) refers to its many volcanoes.